Kirsty Allen becomes new Managing Director

Kirsty Allen becomes new Managing Director

Good Morning,

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to share some important news regarding our organization. After a period of leadership change, I am honoured to step up as the new Managing Director and Responsible officer of CFI Awarding.

First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude to Sam, who will continue in his role as the Awarding Manager, and to Nick, who will remain as our Academic Administrator. Their efforts and dedication have been instrumental in driving our organization’s success, and I look forward to working closely with them to ensure a seamless transition and continued excellence in our services.

As the new Managing Director, my primary focus is to provide you, our valued centres, with the highest level of support and service. I understand the importance of our partnership and the vital role you play in delivering quality education and training to learners. Rest assured that my commitment to maintaining the integrity and reputation of our organization remains steadfast.

In line with our commitment to continuous improvement, we will be undergoing a rebranding process. As part of this initiative, we will be introducing new email addresses for our team members, including myself, Sam, Nick and the EQAs. This update will enable more efficient and effective communication between our organization and your centre. We will share the details of our new email addresses in the coming days, and we kindly request that you update your contact records accordingly.

I believe in the power of collaboration and open dialogue. Your input and feedback are crucial to our continuous improvement. I encourage you to share any thoughts, suggestions, or concerns you may have. Together, we can work towards our common goal of providing learners with the best possible educational experience and ensuring their success.

I am excited about the journey ahead and the opportunity to work closely with each of you. As we embark on this new chapter together, please know that my door is always open. I am here to support you, answer any questions you may have, and address any challenges that may arise.

Thank you for your continued trust and partnership. I am confident that our collective efforts will drive positive outcomes and contribute to the growth and success of your centre. Should you have any immediate inquiries or require further assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at kirsty.allen@cfiawarding.com or our dedicated team.

Here’s to a prosperous future together!

Warmest regards,

Kirsty Allen

Managing Director & Responsible Officer 

CFI Awarding Ltd

Developing Qualifications Differently

Developing Qualifications Differently

What does CFI Awarding do?

Did you know that there are currently over 16,000 qualifications on the Regulated Qualification Framework? But many of them do the same thing and test the same or very similar things in the same way.

The challenge that CFI Awarding embrace is to create new and different qualifications – often in specialist fields where nothing currently exists. More than this, we look to help develop qualifications which feel meaningful and relevant to today’s learners and their aspirations for the future.

A wonderful example of this is something like the Crossfields Institute Level 3 Certificate in Community Orcharding, as community orchards are consistently growing in popularity and will need skilled people to develop and maintain them in years to come.

Similarly, the Certificate in Lifestyle Medicine was developed to reflect rising levels of interest in lifestyle interventions and person-centred medicine, and is designed to help clinicians and non-clinicians develop their personal practice.

The Qualification Development process

The process of developing a qualification begins with CFI Awarding talking to schools, learners, employers, the public, government – anyone really, to establish a need.

If a new qualification is needed, how many students are likely to want to take the qualification in any given year and then: what knowledge, abilities and skills the qualification should be instilling?

This is not a simple process. A qualification can be for hundreds of schools, or just one college or employer; it can be a large qualification that takes up to 3 years to complete or a small qualification that only lasts for one day.

Having agreed that a qualification is necessary and desirable the next step is to work together with a group of staff and stakeholders and agree what should be covered and how the student’s progress and achievement should be measured or tested.

Traditionally a lot of assessment of learners has been done by exam, but this can be unpopular with learners and many argue that this “high stakes testing” is just not the best way to find out what a student actually knows. 

Exams are also rarely designed to show what a student can do. A person’s future can rise or fall on the outcome of one day – and that is very stressful.

Because of this, CFI Awarding favour using portfolio-based assessment which looks at a wider variety of what a learner can do over a longer period of time, and in context.

If an awarding organisation is developing a qualification with this kind of assessment in mind, it has to be done carefully and with very strict quality controls around it so that the evidence of student achievement can be relied upon. Our role is to ensure rigorous quality assurance procedures around assessment before certificates are issued to learners.

Qualification Development in a changing world

Many people these days are more concerned with knowing that a learner can actually demonstrate what they have learned, rather than simply writing about it in a test. So some awarding organisations are evolving to make their qualifications more integrated, and about practice as much as theory.

Also, with information being so readily available, good qualifications these days shouldn’t be just about facts, but about how you interpret them, what you think about what you have learned and how it relates to your life or work.

Qualification development is an intense process of making sure that the qualification is asking the right questions of the learner, in the right way, at the right time and that you can be confident of the result.

Typically we will work with the stakeholders and ask questions like:

  • What exactly is the subject of the qualification?

  • What level should the qualification be? (for example, level 2 – GCSE level – or level 6 – degree level)

  • Who are the learners taking this qualification?

  • What experience or qualifications do they need before they start?

  • What are they likely to do after they complete this qualification? (for example, further study/work)

Once we have a clear idea of who the learners are and what the qualification is aiming to do, the next stage is to ask more detailed questions, such as:

  • What are the key things that the learner needs to know, understand and be able to do at the end of the qualification? (these are the learning outcomes and are a key part of any qualification)

  • How are we going to confirm that the student understands what they have been taught?

  • What experience or qualifications do those teaching the students need?

  • What quality assurance processes and systems do we need to put in place so that we can be sure that the qualification can be relied upon?

All these are important to know in order to contextualise the qualification and ensure that it is relevant and valid. This is how employers or the public in general know that someone really can do what a qualification says they can.

After asking all these questions, a qualification specification will emerge, examples of which can be found here. The specification is the key document which full information about the qualification as well as guidance to teachers.

Does my programme need to be regulated?

In many cases, developing an Ofqual-regulated qualification is the option which best meets the needs of all stakeholders.

However, there will be occasions when it makes more sense to develop a CFI Quality Mark programme.

This could be because:

  • the learners are already educated to a level where a regulated qualification wouldn’t benefit them and are looking instead to further their professional development.

  • the course sits within an industry that doesn’t require a regulated qualification.

  • the training provider prefers the additional flexibility that a Quality Mark programme offers them in terms of shaping their course just the way they want.

A Crossfields Institute Quality Mark means that a programme and centre is endorsed by Crossfields Institute. We will develop the Quality Mark with an approved centre and then monitor and review its delivery to learners. A Quality Mark can be quite flexible with regards to process and structure and is built around the specific needs of the provider. Nevertheless, our quality assurance team will work closely with the centre to ensure that standards are upheld and learners are at the centre of all assessment and administrative processes.

Quality Mark certificates bear the training provider’s logo and the CFI logo. As with the process for the delivery of regulated qualifications, a prospective centre must go through the Centre Approval process, in which we ensure that the centre has the correct staff, systems and processes in place to deliver this training (our existing centres would not need to repeat this process if interested in developing a Quality Mark programme). This is reviewed at least annually with an external quality assurer to ensure all our centres are delivering programmes to an CFI-approved standard.

Why develop a qualification?

Qualifications are important because they confirm to a learner, a future employer, a member of the public or whoever sees the certificate that this person has successfully studied and achieved something at a particular level.

Usually the certificate has a front sheet with the name of the qualification and a transcript, which describes in detail that modules that have been covered, the level of study and length of time it took to complete.

This is important because it allows (for example) a future employer to know what you are capable of. The transcript also shows exactly what a student knows about a subject and how to carry out particular tasks or processes. This is particularly important in some areas, for example, health and social care.

The real point of an awarding organisation is that an independent organisation, separate from a learner’s college or workplace, is confirming through a rigorous process what the learner has achieved.

This is very different from when a college, employer or training provider issues its own certificates. With an awarding organisation the level of independence and the “outside in” perspective gives a strong measure and assurance of the quality of the learning.

If you’d like to explore the qualification process further, or have an idea you’d like to discuss with us, please get in touch:

About Crossfields Institute

Crossfields Institute is an educational charity specialising in holistic and integrative education and research. The Institute develops specialist qualifications which aim to support the development of autonomous students with the intellectual rigour, practical skills, social responsibility and ability to think creatively and act decisively.

Crossfields Institute
Stroud House | Russell Street | Stroud GL5 3AN | United Kingdom
T: +44 (0) 1453 808118
Company no: 06503063 | Charity no: 1124859

IQA Q & A

Internal Quality Assurance – Questions & Answers

As the Level 4 Award in Internal Quality Assurance enters its second year since launch, we wanted to dive a little deeper into the topic of IQA, for those who are interested in learning more about the area in general and how our qualification prepares participants to undertake high-quality quality assurance within their organisation.

Below, we explain what IQA is, why it matters to an organisation and how our course works.

To get more information on the qualification or register on the course, please contact course providers Kato Education via: hello@katoeducation.com

What is ‘IQA’?

Internal Quality Assurance. It is a process that seeks to ensure that assessments are undertaken using a consistent and fair approach across one or several assessors.  It monitors the teaching, learning and assessment systems and processes of a programme of learning as well as the evidence produced by the learners. This ensures that the requirements of the awarding organisation and the qualification have been fully met and helps to keep the centre in a continuous improvement cycle.

Why is IQA important?

Internal Quality Assurance helps a centre to identify areas of good and not-so-good practice. When used as a continuous process throughout the year, a well-planned IQA strategy can efficiently and effectively scrutinise every aspect of a programme to allow for continuous improvement of the process and the assessment practice of the assessor.

What can effective IQA do for an organisation?

Effective IQA will support the whole assessment process from all aspects of teaching and learning through to assessment of the learner.  Areas of good practice will be identified, shared and built upon whilst any areas of poor practice can be addressed through working with individuals who need professional development to improve their teaching and assessment skills.  Ultimately effective IQA will ensure that a centre is meeting all relevant requirements whilst also giving the learners a positive teaching, learning and assessment experience.

What makes the IQA course delivered by CFI unique?

The CFI course is unique because it allows the trainee IQA to focus on their own organisation’s programme(s) of learning and to generate naturally-occurring IQA evidence that they will be required to undertake by their awarding organisation as part of being an approved centre.  

This means that the evidence requirements are possible to meet (unlike other similar IQA qualifications).  Another unique point is that the course starts with the trainee IQA demonstrating that they understand the assessment requirements of the qualifications they will be quality assuring before moving on to the knowledge they are required to have around IQA systems and processes.  It then moves on to a more practical element, where by doing their job, the trainee IQA will be generating appropriate evidence.

What kinds of organisations have taken the IQA course?

Organisations that have a programme of learning with learning outcomes and/or assessment criteria.  These organisations have had a mixture of regulated (RQF), self regulated (SRQ) and quality mark (QM) programmes.  The types of organisations have ranged from schools and training organisations to employers who train their own staff.

What is important for people to know about IQA?

Knowing about IQA is the first step to being able to implement IQA.  Without it, a centre is not likely to be meeting the requirements of the awarding organisation and therefore the qualification.  They will also less likely to be in a position to ensure consistency and fairness in the teaching, learning and assessment of the learners within their centre.  They certainly will not be demonstrating best practice.

How can people sign up to the next course?

They can contact the course providers, Kato Education, via hello@katoeducation.com, to express an interest in signing up or ask for more information about the qualification.

Lou Doliczny steps down as CEO

Lou Doliczny steps down as CEO

Dear Colleagues,

This is to announce that our Group CEO, Lou Doliczny will be leaving us at the end of February 2023.

Lou has been with Crossfields Institute since 2014 and has contributed hugely to the organisation over that time. She has been a strong and consistent advocate of our work, and as CEO has steered the organisation over the past 3 years through the challenges of COVID. We are immensely grateful to her, and she will not be disappearing completely, but may from time to time be involved in our projects.

Lou and her family have recently moved to Devon and she intends to find interesting professional roles as well as spending more time on another passion of hers – sailing. The Trustees would like to thank her for her amazing service and commitment over the last few years and we wish her well.

Trustees are looking ahead to the next phase for the charity and are committed to ensuring strong leadership and maintaining good governance for Crossfields Institute. We are keen to build on our network of affiliated organisations and continue to evolve as an organisation.

With this in mind, the existing Core Leadership Team will continue to lead the vision and values of CFI for the foreseeable future and are excited about this new chapter for the organisation.

If you have any questions about this, please get in touch.

Best Wishes,

Crossfields Institute

 

New Centre Approved

New Centre Approved

Crossfields Institute is delighted to announce that Westwood Training and Consultancy has been approved by Crossfields Institute to deliver the NCFE CACHE Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy.

NCFE CACHE Level 3 & 4 Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy

This qualification is open for registrations from 19 July 2021.

NCFE CACHE has worked collaboratively with the Crossfields Institute to develop these specialist level 3 and 4 Early Years qualifications.
In collaboration with NCFE CACHE, the Institute is responsible for the ongoing delivery, and centre quality assurance of this qualification. As specialist qualifications they have particular requirements which all centres must meet in order to gain qualification approval in terms of both staff expertise and resources.

Westwood Training and Consultancy (WTC) offers quality, affordable Montessori and Early Years training in a working Montessori environment. Situated within the grounds of an Ofsted outstanding Montessori nursery and pre-school, they offer hands on collaborative learning ensuring that far from being just an academic exercise, their training ‘lives’ for their learners and is delivered by practicing Montessorians.

Crossfields Institute is a Gloucestershire based education charity, approved by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations in England) as an awarding organisation. The Institute specialises in the development of specialist qualifications for providers with a particular vision or ethos.

Michelle Wisbey Mont Dip, BA Hons, MA, PGCE (Montessorian of the Year 2015), leads a team of experienced lecturers and trainers, all of whom have studied with Montessori Centre International in London. With several years of experience, they provide both face to face and blended learning with full tutor support with learning taking place in a supportive, comfortable and fully equipped environment.

Our Story

“As dedicated Montessorians and the team behind four Ofsted outstanding nurseries and pre-schools it became evident that regional training in Montessori Pedagogy was essential to maintain the quality of teaching in the more rural areas. Working closely with Montessori Centre International (MCI), we established ourselves as an accredited regional centre for the south-east and surrounding area and provided a much needed service for all our keen and committed Montessorians. We are now an independently accredited training centre and continue to deliver the Montessori qualification, alongside other qualifications and courses.”

May update from Lou Doliczny

May update from Lou Doliczny

Warm greetings from all at Crossfields Institute. We hope that you and your family are safe and well in this unprecedented time. We have certainly felt the effects of the coronavirus crisis here at Crossfields, but we have also been impressed and heartened by the resilience of our affiliates, centres and learners. Indeed, the crisis appears to have had a galvanising effect in some cases and we are seeing new projects and initiatives emerging.

Before explaining more, I should perhaps begin by announcing that I have now been confirmed by trustees in the role of Executive Director and have taken over the leadership of the Institute.  We have chosen to furlough some staff, but the rest of us are still working with energy and commitment, including Charlotte who continues to be director of our subsidiary company, Crossfields Europa.  Her heart remains firmly with us as she continues to lead on Consulting and feed into other important Institute-wide projects.

Just to give a flavour of the work we are engaged in:

    • Our HE programmes are progressing well with students close to graduating in both Agroecology and Reflective Social Practice.
    • Our third cohort of students studying the Philosophy and Practice of Integrative Education are also being supported in their remote learning, with our experience with online learning coming into its own at this time.
    • The move towards online is also evident in the Awarding part of the Institute where we are supporting many centres to move their delivery and assessment online while still retaining the essence of a Crossfields educational approach.

So, the message is that we remain very much active and alive! We have been delighted to agree several new collaborations in recent weeks, including the development of a regulated qualification in forest gardening, a commitment to a second year of support for a school and a new long-term contract to advise an international education movement as they bring their inspiring integrative vision to life.

All these projects mean that we are able to continue to operate, but we also want to be able to expand our work and fulfill our charitable objectives.  I would like to do more to support other charities in their educational initiatives.  One such example is very local to us – a group of Stroud parents and educationalists are working to set up a Homeschool hub which may offer our integrative education qualifications to 14-16 year olds.  We are looking at ways to raise funds with them and would welcome any contacts, advice or indeed offers of support in the coming weeks.

After the successful response to our small-scale fundraising appeal in March, I know that there is a desire to support our work.  Indeed, I feel that there is an even stronger urge to explore educational alternatives and promote a more sustainable world view at this time.  If you would like to support us in this work, either as a one-off or as a monthly donation, then please visit our website and click the ‘donate now’ button.  Your donation would help us to spread our educational approach more widely and provide valuable support to other charities.

I very much hope that you are also able to sustain yourselves and your organisation in this time of challenge and opportunity.  Do stay in touch with us and let us know if we can be of any assistance in your educational endeavours.

With my best wishes to you all,

Lou

Lou Doliczny Bsc QTS
Executive Director

New Philosophy and Practice of Integrated Education qualification launched

Crossfields Institute is delighted to announce the launch of

Crossfields Institute Level 7 Diploma in the Philosophy and Practice of Integrative Education

This qualification is open for registrations from Wednesday 4th March 2020

The qualification was developed in response to the major social, environmental and technological changes that are being experienced globally, and the changing skills and competences that young people need. As a response to these challenges, many educators are now experimenting with new approaches to teaching and learning with the aim of nurturing capacities such as creative thinking, empathy, resilience and resourcefulness. This qualification invites teachers and school leaders onto a journey of creative exploration that can serve as a catalyst for positive change within their own thinking and within their practice as educators.

Crossfields Learning is passionate about education in all its forms, and has a vision to inspire, innovate and initiate positive social change towards a better world for all. They design and deliver workshops, short courses, conferences, in-service training and specialist higher education programmes within the UK and around the world.

Crossfields Institute is a Gloucestershire based education charity, approved by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations in England) as an awarding organisation. The Institute specialises in the development of specialist qualifications for providers with a particular vision or ethos.

New Equine Facilitated Learning qualification launched

Crossfields Institute and LEAP Equine are delighted to announce the launch of

Crossfields Institute Level 4 Diploma in Equine Facilitated Learning: the LEAP method

This qualification is open for registrations from Monday 2nd March 2020

This Crossfields Institute qualification was created in collaboration with LEAP Equine in order to bring professional standards into a fast growing and as yet unregulated field. The qualification emphasises the development of maturity, self-awareness, authenticity, safe and ethical practice.

    • Any learners who are interested in finding out more about this qualification should contact LEAP Equine on 0776 0776 500 or at info@leapequine.com
    • Any organisations wishing to deliver this qualification should contact the Crossfields Institute Quality Team qualityassurance@crossfieldsinstitute.com 01453 808118

Crossfields Institute is a Gloucestershire based education charity, approved by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations in England) as an awarding organisation. The Institute specialises in the development of specialist qualifications for providers with a particular vision or ethos.

LEAP Equine’s aim is to provide safe and healing Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) and Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) for individuals and groups, and to provide high quality, professional training for those who wish to become EFP/L practitioners.

Crossfields Consulting Launches New Workshops

For over a decade, we have helped businesses, charities, schools, colleges, universities and communities strategise, innovate and transform. We are delighted to offer the following new workshops to organisations that are ready for change –

    1. Working with uncertainty and complexity in the workplace
    2. Care, creativity and courage in the workplace
    3. Creating a culture of effective and creative client facing work
    4. Developing self and others in the workplace
    5. Performance and development reviews that make a difference
    6. Competent moment-to-moment facilitation and leadership in the workplace
    7. How to hold a meeting that matters
    8. The Art and Craft of Delegation

Each workshops can be delivered on location for smaller or larger teams. Duration and details can be customised to meet the needs of the individual organisation or team.

Contact us for more information and to speak to our expert faculty.

January 24-25 2020 Launch of New Educational Leadership Programme

Managing change and complexity is one of the most frequent issues facing leaders, managers and their organisations today. How do we navigate confidently and competently in this climate of moving goalposts, environmental, social, political and financial challenges and intensifying compliance demands? How do we balance these issues with the need to maintain focus on those we aim to serve and the vision we hope to realise for a better world?

Crossfields Learning has launched a new Educational Leadership Programme with the senior leadership team of a large UK independent school with a vision. Committed to meeting the emerging needs of the school, the programme is customised and consists of a series of workshops, all certified and delivered over a period of 6 months.

For more information, contact Crossfields Learning.